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Trophy Fish Award Program

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The Trophy Fish Award Program recognizes and rewards angling skill. Successful anglers will receive a:


Certificate of Merit

  • Bronze pin for your first fish of merit.
  • Silver pin for your fifth fish of merit.
  • Gold pin for your tenth fish of merit or a new state record fish.

General Rules: Saltwater/Freshwater Fish

  • Top Angler Awards are given to Marine and Inland anglers who catch and keep, catch and release the largest fish of each species categories. Angler of the Year is awarded to the angler with the most species categories. Awards are provided at the annual Trophy Fish Award Ceremony.
  • Youth Category is defined as anyone 15 years of age and under.
  • Saltwater entries must be caught by boats leaving and returning to Connecticut ports. No overnight stays in another state prior to day(s) of fishing.
  • Entries must be filed on the Official Affidavit Form, page 12.
  • Fish must be caught by legal methods, played by only one person.
  • Fish must be entered within 30 days of capture.
  • All Trophy Fish Award Affidavits must be submitted by January 15, 2016
  • Fish caught in hatchery ponds are not eligible.
  • Fish must be caught (including catch and release) during Connecticut’s legal open season.
  • A clear photograph of the fish must accompany the Affidavit Form.
  • Fish may be weighed at any local bait and tackle shop (see Connecticut Bait & Tackle Shops).
  • Please note: all potential State Record Fish must be weighed on a certified scale and a printout of the scale weight must accompany the affidavit.
  • For species not listed: trophy fish award subject to Fisheries staff identification and review.

Catch and Release Category Rules

  • All of the General Rules apply except that the fish does not need to be weighed. A witness must be present.
  • A clear photo must accompany the affidavit. This photo must include the angler holding the fish and also include the fish next to a measuring (yardstick, ruler, or tape measure) device to clearly show the length of the fish.
  • The accompanying photo must be taken at the location where the fish was caught and released.
  • Fish can’t be taken from the site and then transported back.
  • BLE = best length estimate for highly migratory species.
  • Minimum Length (Total Length) = Tip of snout to end of tail.
  • Marlin & swordfish—measure from lower jaw to fork in tail.
  • Shark species—minimum length is fork length.
  • Fish must be released alive!

Volunteer Opportunities

The Bureau of Natural Resources appreciates all the help it receives from volunteers each year. Typically, volunteers are from organized groups, but there are also some opportunities for individuals. Among the programs in which you may be able to participate:

Atlantic Salmon and Herring Restoration Programs

For groups: Contact Steve Gephard or Bruce Williams (Inland Fisheries Division) at 860-434-6043

Volunteer Angler Survey — Saltwater Anglers

For individuals: See Marine Angler Surveys for details. Contact David R. Molnar (Marine Fisheries Division) at 860-434-6043 or david.molnar@ct.gov.

CT Aquatic Resource Education Program (CARE)

For individuals: Volunteers are trained and certified to teach an introductory course in fishing. Training/Certification is offered twice a year, in February and June. Certified instructors must participate in one CARE event per year. Participation may include teaching or assisting the teaching of a 6 hour class in your hometown or helping out at a special event. A desire to pass on your angling knowledge and lots of enthusiasm for the sport are all we require to join the program. See page 6 for more! Contact Tom Bourret or Justin Wiggins of the Inland Fisheries Division at 860-663-1656.

Thanks for your interest in the health of our fisheries resources!

Trophy Fish Award Minimum Weights

Note: Minimum Lengths apply to the catch-and-release category only! The minimum lengths listed below do not apply to the traditional weighed category.

Category

Species

Minimum Weight

Minimum Length

Freshwater

American Eel

3 lbs

35″

American Shad

5 lbs

25″

Atlantic Salmon1

15 lbs

31

Bluegill

12 oz

10″

Brook Trout

2 lbs

17″

Brown Bullhead

2 lbs

15″

Brown Trout

5 lbs

22″

Calico Bass (Black Crappie)

2 lbs

15″

Common Carp

20 lbs

34″

Chain Pickerel

5 lbs

27″

Channel Catfish

4 lbs

22″

Fallfish

1.5 lbs

14″

Kokanee

1.75 lbs

16″

Largemouth Bass

6 lbs

22″

Northern Pike

10 lbs

35″

Pumpkinseed

8 oz

9″

Rainbow Trout

4 lbs

21″

Redbreast Sunfish3

8 oz

9″

Rock Bass

12 oz

11″

Smallmouth Bass

4 lbs

21″

Sunfish Hybrids4

12 oz

10″

Tiger Trout

2 lbs

17″

Walleye

5 lbs

23″

White Catfish

4 lbs

20″

White Perch

2 lbs

15″

White Sucker

3 lbs

15″

Yellow Bullhead2

2 lbs

15″

Yellow Perch

1.5 lbs

15″

Saltwater

Albacore

30 lbs

40″

American Eel

3 lbs

35″

Atlantic Bonito

4 lbs

20″

Atlantic Cod

20 lbs

40″

Atlantic Mackerel

2 lbs

14″

Black Sea Bass

4 lbs

20″

Blackfish (Tautog)

8 lbs

22″

Blue Marlin

100 lbs

BLE (99″)

Blue Shark

175 lbs

BLE (54″)

Bluefin Tuna

400 lbs

60″

Bluefish

12 lbs

32″

Cunner

1.5 lbs

12″

Dolphin Fish (Dorado)

45 lbs

48”

Hickory Shad

1.75 lbs

18

Little Tunny (False Albacore)

5 lbs

24″

Mako Shark

175 lbs

BLE (54″)

Oyster Toadfish

1 lb

10″

Pollock

15 lbs

34″

Scup (Porgy)

2.5 lbs

16″

Squid

10 Mantle Length; 18 Total Length

Striped Bass

35 lbs

45″

Striped Searobin

3 lbs

18

Summer Flounder (Fluke)

6 lbs

25″

Swordfish

100 lbs

BLE (47″)

Thresher Shark

200 lbs

BLE (54″)

Weakfish

5 lbs

24″

White Marlin

80 lbs

BLE (66″)

White Perch

1.5 lbs

14″

Winter Flounder

2.5 lbs

17″

Yellowfin Tuna

150 lbs

60″

Blue Crab

8″

8″

1 Includes only hatchery-reared broodstock salmon released into the Broodstock Atlantic Salmon waters and supplemental lakes. Wild Atlantic salmon from the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound are illegal to possess and not covered under this Trophy Fish Award program.

2 Good photos (both lateral and ventral shots) will have to be required for identifications.

3 Redbreast Sunfish will require only a good lateral photo.

4 Most sunfish over 10″ are probably hybrids.

Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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